Johan Reveillard is chief technology officer and co-founder of Money Jar (moneyjar.ie), a fintech offering a digital current account and the ability to set up separate “jars” where you can set aside cash to plan financially for upcoming long- or short-term spending plans
Are you a saver or a spender? I would consider myself a moderate saver. I allocate roughly 15 per cent of my monthly earnings to various savings accounts, ranging from short-term to long-term, low-risk to medium-risk. The key, for me at least, is to set the money aside immediately before the next financial month or week start.
Do you shop around for better value? Absolutely, although it depends on what it is. When it comes to food, for instance, I’m only looking for quality, and I’m happy to spend more for organic and fresh produce. When shopping for other household articles, I go for value. Spending on hobby items, such as diving gear, I spend time to find a seller or merchant with the best deal for the piece of equipment I’m looking for, which is not always a shop in Ireland.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost? I would say this would be our timeshare in the Caribbean, at roughly €25,000 per interval. It has its benefits and constraints. That said, no regrets, it serves us well. Just to note that a timeshare is normally not a profitable investment, it’s a spend.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? Somewhat left field, perhaps, but I bought a special diving regulator for cold water diving a few years back. I got it new, below retail price, and I know this regulator will serve me for a significant number of years and well beyond what a lower-cost comparable would.
How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local? Apart from food, which I prefer to hand pick, I do most shopping online and through various channels. One article may have different pricing depending on which online store you use.
Do you haggle over prices? I do indeed haggle. Not over food and clothes, perhaps, but when it comes to electronics especially, or hobby equipment, then I haggle if the price is above a certain amount. I consider the price set as a guideline set by the store, not what the item actually cost. Haggling is not necessarily a matter of going back and forth a few rounds: many times it’s enough to point out to the store that the item is cheaper elsewhere.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits? Window shopping leading to spontaneous purchases has dropped significantly and that’s still the case for me. I don’t walk around town to check out shops even to this day, pretty long after restrictions were lifted.
Do you invest in shares? I invest in shares and funds for long-term savings. I only invest in well-known shares of companies that I believe in, and funds that have steady growth over a long period of time. When there’s a dip in the market I continue to invest, as I know the market will eventually turn. This gives steady long-term growth. I stay away from volatile investments such as penny stock, unknown fractional stock, crypto, shorting or trading with leverage, as I consider that to be gambling.
Cash or card? I have long since abandoned using cash and, while it sometimes proves difficult – hailing a taxi without a taxi app can be a challenge if you don’t have cash – I prefer card. I use different cards for different types of spending – travel, night out, grocery, electronics, equipment. Some might say I’m overdoing it, but I use different cards for all of those, and I can then continuously see how much money I spend on each.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? Saving up for the first house, which took quite a few years, comes to mind. However, the most significant saving was not for a specific purchase, but rather a savings goal from when I was young. My grandad, who first taught me about savings, challenged me to set aside half of my weekly allowance for a full year and, if I did, he would at the end of the year double that savings. Today, I do something similar with my son – every euro of his allowance he sets aside for savings, I double in a fund in his name.
Have you ever lost money? More to prove a point than anything else, I put €50 on stock and €50 on crypto in one of the popular digital neobanks, and let the money sit there to grow long term. A number of months in now, the stock is only 50 per cent of its original value and the crypto 75 per cent of its original value. A complete failure, and symptomatic of how we are deceived by the idea that anyone can be a day trader. Sure, anyone can, but not necessarily successfully so. Unless you’re a professional trader, I recommend sticking to stable stock in companies you personally believe in. That’s no guarantee for growth, but the chances are significantly higher.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win? Many moons ago, I ended up at a poker table online, playing against a known professional. I took €300 from him, which was quite hilarious. That’s usually where I finish that story. Truth be told, I lost it back to him a few hands later. That’s my gambling “career” summed up.
Is money important to you? To me, what’s important is being in control of your money, your spending and your saving. When you’re in control, money becomes less important, however paradoxical that may seem.
How much money do you have on you now? I don’t like walking around with a lot of cash. I prefer to use cards. That said, I have €35 in cash.